June 15, 2016 in 3,505 words



This Day In History: June 15, 1877

Henry Ossian Flipper was born on March 21, 1856 and, grew up as a slave in Thomasville, Georgia. He was a very intelligent youngster. Another slave secretly taught him to read, putting them both at great peril. After the Civil War ended, he attended schools run by the American Missionary Association and began studying at Atlanta University in 1869.

Flipper had always felt drawn to the military. He wrote to Georgia congressman James Freeman in January 1873 requesting admission to West Point. Freeman replied that he would recommend him only if Flipper proved “worthy and qualified.” He did, and Henry was allowed to take the entrance exam. He passed. Flipper entered West Point on July 1, 1873.

Unsurprisingly for the era, at the Academy, Henry had to endure incredible racism. …

Meet the New Trump, Same as the Old Trump

Since the shooting in Orlando, the Republican has adopted some new talking points—including defending LGBT Americans—but his strategy seems to have changed little.

The asshole who thinks he’ll be a great president

Donald Trump isn’t pivoting to the center. If anything, he’s growing more bombastic, more erratic, more—well, more like Trump, as the primary gives way to the general election.

Celebrating his 70th birthday, the presumptive Republican nominee provided attendees a mix of red meat and bewilderment, veering between denunciations of Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and The Washington Post (all well received) and proclamations of his strong support for LGBT Americans (met with some apprehension). In the weirdest moment of the night, Trump seemed to imply that American troops in Iraq had pocketed money meant for reconstruction after the war.

“How about bringing baskets of money, millions and millions of dollars, and handing it out?” Trump said. “I want to know, who are the soldiers that had that job? Because I think they’re living very well right now, whoever they may be.” The comment was met with bemused silence by attendees, many of whom were veterans themselves. (The debatable political calculus aside, there have been such accusations made in the past. In any case, a spokeswoman later said that Trump meant Iraqi soldiers.) …

Obama takes on Trump: ‘Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently?’

• President makes strongest rebuke of ‘loose talk’ after Orlando attack
• Hillary Clinton paints rival as ‘conspiracy theorist’

Barack Obama has launched a stinging rebuke to Donald Trump’s response to the Orlando massacre, accusing the presumptive Republican nominee of “betraying American values” by suggesting all Muslims were complicit in such attacks.

In the most forceful remarks yet of an already febrile election season, the president warned of a “dangerous mindset” and “loose talk” that was of a different order from previous partisan criticism and threatened the very nature of American democracy.

“We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee to bar all Muslims from emigrating to America … suggesting entire religious communities are complicit in violence,” said Obama.

“Where does this stop? The Orlando killer, one of the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer, [they] were all US citizens. Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently … putting them under surveillance?” …

10 Of The Most Impressive Acts Of Laziness In Human History

We’re all prone to acts of laziness. Maybe we should be washing the dishes, but we’ve instead elected to get drunk and play foosball. Maybe we’re supposed to be writing another article for the list-based website we work at but have instead fallen asleep face-down in a plate of nachos. Whatever. The point is, every single one of us occasionally indulges our lazy side.

But there’s indulging your lazy side, and then there’s dedicating your life to extreme acts of procrastination. The following people all have one thing in common: They took one look at your average lazy person and decided, “I can do better . . . as soon as I can be bothered.”

10. The Oxford English Dictionary Outdated Itself Before Release

Compiling the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) was always going to be a monumental task. The last word on British English, the complete OED contains around 228,130 words spread over 20 volumes. When it first received a publishing contract in 1879, it was expected to take 10 whole years to compile. But those stumping up the money hadn’t counted on one fatal problem—the ability of academics to procrastinate like a total boss.

Five years into writing the OED’s first complete edition, the compilers had only gotten as far as the word “ant.” This should have been the wake-up call everyone needed to get them working harder. It wasn’t. Instead, 1889 came and went, and those involved were nowhere near the letter “z.” After 10 years, they’d barely edged out the start of the alphabet.

By the time someone finally sat down and wrote the entry for “Zzz,” the 19th century had ended, Queen Victoria had died, World War I had come and gone, jazz had stepped into existence, and the Wall Street Crash was about to hit. …

Pat Robertson: Gays & Islamists Are Allies So ‘Let Them Kill Themselves’

Today on “The 700 Club,” televangelist Pat Robertson reacted to the massacre at an Orlando gay club by making the absurd claim that liberal LGBT rights advocates have aligned themselves with radical Islamists and are now reaping what they have sowed.

Robertson said that liberals are facing a “dilemma” because they love both LGBT equality and Islamic extremism, and that it is better for conservatives like himself not to get involved but to instead just watch the two groups kill each other.

“The left is having a dilemma of major proportions and I think for those of us who disagree with some of their policies, the best thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves,” he said. …

‘The guilt of being alive is heavy,’ survivor of nightclub shooting says

Patience Carter feels pain from the gunshot wounds in her legs. And for that, she feels guilt so strong that she has been trying to process it through poetry.

“I can feel nothing like the other 49 who weren’t so lucky to feel this pain of mine,” Carter said Tuesday, surrounded by the doctors who saved her life, reading a poem about the emotional toll that comes from surviving when others don’t.

For 53 people, this past Sunday started in a popular Orlando nightclub and ended in a hospital room. Forty-nine others at the club ended up in the morgue.

As mourners from Sydney to Moscow remembered the dead with candles and flowers, those who survived were confronted with competing torrents of emotion: elation at being able to wake up in the morning, and a gnawing survivors’ guilt that a weeping Carter described as an almost unbearable burden. …

10 Futuristic Technologies That Are Revolutionizing Our World

As technology advances, we will begin to see huge changes in how our world operates. While all the technologies on this list are already being applied all over the world, many of them are still in their infancy. We stand on the precipice of a new technological age in human history, and while it may not yet be The Jetsons, many of these technologies are even more fantastic than anything we could have predicted.

10. Transparent Wood

By chemically treating ordinary balsa wood and strengthening it with epoxy, scientists have created a clear, biodegradable material that is 4–6 times stronger than its counterpart that is not chemically treated. Its strength and clarity make it a more environmentally friendly alternative to some plastics.

Scientists even think that it could be used to make renewable solar cells because the material partially traps light, allowing only about 85–90 percent of light to pass through it. We could see the homes of the future built and powered by this material. …

WATCH: Following Moment Of Silence, Democrats Shout Down Speaker Ryan

We’re a little late to this story, but we think it’s worth noting. Last night, after Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan called for a moment of silence on the House floor for victims of the Orlando massacre, he tried to get back to regular order.

House Democrats were having none of it. Watch:

What you’re hearing is Democrats shouting, “Where’s the bill?” and “No leadership.” Democrats were angry that Ryan had not let the body consider bills intended to curb gun violence. …

Top Republicans join Obama in condemning Trump’s words

Top Republicans joined with President Obama and other Democrats Tuesday in sharply condemning Donald Trump’s reaction to the nightclub massacre in Orlando, decrying his anti-Muslim rhetoric and his questioning of Obama’s allegiances as divisive and out of step with America’s values.

Trump — who just a week ago signaled an intent to snap his campaign into a more measured tone for the general election — showed no sign of backing down from his suggestions that Obama was somehow connected to or sympathetic with terrorists, telling the Associated Press that the president “continues to prioritize our enemy” over Americans.

In separate appearances, both Obama and his potential successor, likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, blasted Trump’s proposal to ban foreign Muslims from the United States as dangerous and contrary to the nation’s traditions. …


Back in the halcyon days of 1995, Pepsi launched their aptly titled “Drink Pepsi, Get Stuff” campaign that allowed customers to earn points on every Pepsi product they bought and then exchange them for things like Pepsi branded t-shirts and hats. The promotion was a roaring success and resulted in nothing of note happening whatsoever… unless of course you count the guy who sued them because they refused to exchange 7,000,000 Pepsi points for a Harrier Jet.

The man in question was John Leonard and in the later months of 1995 he turned on his TV and saw this ad announcing the Pepsi Stuff promotion. For those who aren’t interested in watching the advertisement, it essentially shows a teen on his way to school, highlighting items one can buy with Pepsi points, such as a Pepsi T-shirt for 75 points, a leather jacket for 1450 points, etc. …

How Mobile Today Is Like TV Six Decades Ago

All of the growth in advertising right now is targeted at that little screen people carry with them everywhere.

In the early 1950s, television was popular, but unsophisticated. This was a common sentiment, even among the people who produced it—”a hybrid monstrosity derived from newspapers, radio news, and newsreels, which inherited none of the merits of its ancestors,” as one CBS News anchor summed it up. But either despite its gimmicky shortcomings or because of them, advertisers loved the little box. Revenue from ads increased more than 60 percent a year for the first five years of the decade, so that by 1955, television accounted for nearly 20 percent of total U.S. media advertising.

This year, mobile media accounts for the exact same share, nearly 20 percent of total U.S. media spending. So, in a very real way, mobile is today where television was exactly six decades ago.

For more than a century, media organizations working in newspapers, magazines, television, and radio have relied on advertising to report and publish the news. It was a sometimes awkward, and often fruitful, symbiosis of needs. The news created an audience of readers, the advertiser paid to piggyback off that audience, and this commercial tag-team subsidized both reportage and readership. …

Why a moderate amount of stress is good for you, according to a cognitive neuroscientist

Professor Ian Robertson says our approach to stress is likely to determine its effect

Stress has been linked with a string of issues including depression, dementia and cancer.

But Professor Ian Robertson, the author of the book, The Stress Test: how pressure can make you stronger and sharper, out on June 16 argued that the right amount of stress can actually increase our productivity.

Stress causes an area in our brain to create neodrenaline, which eases the communication between the different parts of our brain. As long as we have the right amount of the chemical, stress can push us to perform better.

“There’s a sweet spot in the middle where if you have just the right amount, the goldilocks zone of noradrenaline, that acts like the best brain-tuner,” Professor Robertson told Quartz. …

5 Geniuses Ridiculed And Fired For Being Right Too Soon

Some people fail because they have bad ideas. Others fail because their ideas are too good, like that time we had our Super Nintendo taken away because we filled the house with Home Alone traps. That’s because great ideas can be unfortunately difficult to recognize but extremely easy to dismiss … until, of course, it’s too late.

#5. Tons Of Channels Turned Down Breaking Bad (For Ridiculous Reasons)

Depending on who you ask, Breaking Bad was either one of the best TV dramas of the last decade, or one of the best ever. Which makes it all the more surprising that the show was originally turned down more times than a bed at an hourly motel. As Vince Gilligan tells it, four networks and six separate executives turned down Breaking Bad, which makes us think that either Gilligan’s elevator pitches suck (“It’s the dad from Malcolm In The Middle cooking meth in a trailer!”), or most TV executives have the creative instinct of a community theater director.

“Okay, but only if we can reuse backgrounds from old Road Runner cartoons.”

Civil Liberties Keep Americans Safe

Politicians who want to violate civil rights to combat terror miss a vital point—if they strip them away, they’ll be equally defenseless.

fter the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government changed its domestic policies in a lot of ways that did little to keep its residents safer from terrorism, even as it infringed on civil liberties and weakened basic protections against government abuses. Air travelers endured years taking off their shoes and throwing away their water bottles at the behest of an incompetent TSA bureaucracy that still misses most guns. The NYPD sent undercover officers to profile Muslim American students, even going on a river rafting trip to spy on them, only to generate zero leads. The NSA built a domestic system of mass surveillance that affects all U.S. residents.

There is no evidence that any of it made Americans safer.

The nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida, has prompted renewed calls from prominent figures for new infringements on the civil liberties of law-abiding American citizens and residents. Their suggestions would do little if anything to keep anyone safer, and would assist jihadists in further chipping away at freedoms and protections against government abuses. For these reasons and more, their alarmist responses to Sunday’s attack should be rebuked by cooler heads. …

After Orlando, It’s Clearer Than Ever: This Election Is a Civil War

On the night that Omar Mateen killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Donald Trump’s friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone wrote a post on his website that was seemingly unrelated. It concerned Huma Abedin, a close aide to Hillary Clinton. In the brief post, Stone idly wondered if, in addition to being Clinton’s “chic gal pal,” Abedin might not also be a “Saudi Spy? … Foreign Spy?” or “Terrorist plant?”

On any other day, after any other week, Stone’s comments might well have been written off as nothing more than his readily expressed bigotry. But at this juncture, they seemed in sync with the larger message that Stone’s compatriot Donald Trump was about to push through major media. Appearing on Fox News the morning after the shooting, Trump said of President Barack Obama’s refusal to use the words “radical Islamic terrorism”: “Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”

You don’t need to recall that Donald Trump got his political start with Republicans by waging a lengthy campaign to force our first African-American president to cough up a birth certificate to understand the Republican nominee’s suggestion that Obama is working with or supporting or at least sympathetic to Islamic terrorism. …

10 Bizarre But Chilling Encounters With Black-Eyed Children

Perhaps one of the first urban legends of the Internet, stories and claims of encounters with black-eyed children can arguably be traced back to a report of an incident in 1996 involving a man named Brian Bethel.

Bethel claimed he was sitting in his car going through paperwork when a knock came at his car window. He looked out to see two young boys, around 12 years old, who asked the journalist for a ride to a local movie theater. He might have agreed, had he not noticed that where their eyes should have been were soulless, deep black stones staring back at him. He sped off as fast as he could, and since his account, numerous claims of sightings have flooded Internet chat rooms and alternative media sites.

While most, probably rightly, put these reports down to mistaken copycat sightings or out-and-out hoaxes, some have investigated deeper, and several sightings predate Bethel’s by decades. Whether they’re ghosts, demons, aliens, or simply the product of people’s overactive imaginations, the stories are all interesting and equally chilling. Here are 10 of them, and if you hear a knock at your door while reading these, maybe think twice before opening it.

10. Black-Eyed Girl Of Cannock Chase
Staffordshire, England

In September 2014, tabloid newspaper The Daily Star ran several full front-page stories of a black-eyed girl who was terrorizing the area of Cannock Chase in Staffordshire, England. Lee Brickley, a paranormal investigator, examined the case. He claimed that a local woman had suddenly heard a terrifying scream, which she believed to be a child in danger. She ran in search of the child, and after initially not seeing anyone, she noticed that a girl dressed in white stood behind her. She stated that the young girl had her hands over her eyes “as if she was waiting for a birthday cake” and was silent.

The woman, who also had her young daughter with her, asked the strange girl if she was okay, which seemed to prompt her to take her hands from her face, and open her eyes. “That’s when I saw they were completely black, no iris, no white, nothing,” the witness told Brickley. “I jumped back and grabbed my daughter. When I looked again, the child was gone. It was so strange.” …

Test-driving LELO’s ‘condom of the future’

Can high-tech inspiration change our perception of the centuries-old prophylactic?

I’m not proud of it. As someone who’s at high risk for HIV infection, I have a spotty relationship with safe sex. I came of age in the ’90s, when rappers like Salt-N-Pepa and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes frequently spit rhymes about rubbers. I volunteered in a South African AIDS orphanage in the early 2000s and saw first-hand the effects of unprotected sex. I even had my own close brush with HIV infection nearly 10 years ago. And yet, I don’t always do the right thing.

NSFW Warning: This story may contain links to and descriptions or images of explicit sexual acts. .

So when LELO, the luxury sex toy manufacturer, invited me to see its big breakthrough in condom technology, I jumped at the chance. Weeks later I found myself sitting across the table from the company’s founder, Filip Sedic, my hands covered in lube, attempting to tear apart perhaps the most ambitious prophylactic of our time. …

Let’s pretend… Longmont getting its own escape room

Growing entertainment trend spreading throughout U.S.

All around the country and in select parts of Colorado, people have been paying to lock themselves in a room with groups of friends or co-workers and solve puzzles to earn back their freedom.

Soon, Longmont residents will get that chance, too.

Breakout Escape Room is launching July 1, the latest in a growing trend that was born in Japan and migrated to the U.S. around 2012.

As of June 2015, there were 367 registered escape rooms in America; 1,765 worldwide, according to the Escape Room Directory. …


Today I found out alcohol does not “cook out” of food in most cases. The myth that alcohol does all cook out stems from the fact that alcohol has a much lower boiling point temperature (173° F / 78.5° C) than water (212° F / 100° C). Thus, if the temperature is above 78.5° C, then the alcohol should boil off, right?

A group of researchers in 1992 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the University of Idaho, and Washington State University decided to find out. In the end, what they discovered was that the “alcohol cooks out” assumption didn’t turn out to be correct for the vast majority of ways most people prepare food with alcohol. …

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